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There are multiple qualities that are required for business success. These include critical thinking, creativity, and determination. While most people have at least one of these qualities inherently, guidance is always necessary, in some capacity. The proper one-on-one leadership can help take your career to great new places.

A mentorship is important because it gives you the opportunity to learn in a specific manner. While classes and other professional training are vital, they aren’t necessarily going to cover all the bases for each person. When you find someone you’d like as your mentor, it’s likely because you share qualities and values that make you both compatible, and the person mentoring you feels the same. When two professionals come together organically, you likely won’t realize it at the same time. Instead, you’ll find yourselves naturally drawn to one another and forge a bond.

A mentor is bound to be more experienced than their protege.  Not only does this mean they can advise you on making the right choices for success,  they can also guide you on how to avoid the wrong choices. A strong mentor will see themselves in the mentee and feel urges to protect them from dangers that they faced. They might also give you wise words that were passed on to them years earlier.

This relationship also keeps you as a young professional more accountable, as your drive to be successful will be bolstered by the knowledge that there’s another person depending on you to follow their example. You’ll think about how you can make the decisions that will best benefit your career, based in part on the guidance of your mentor. It can also give you a more critical and attentive mind, which may increase successful behaviors in other aspects of your professional life.

As a mentoring relationship progresses, it’s important that both parties are contributing to the relationship. The person mentoring should be open to your suggestions in addition to offering their opinions. Just because you’re less experienced it doesn’t mean you’re naive. Similarly, as a  protege, you should take the lessons learned to heart, but should also be willing to speak up when necessary. This doesn’t need to be a protest. It can instead be a raising of dialogue between two passionate individuals, who are together seeking to bring out the best in each other.

A mentoring relationship should not be viewed as a means to an end. It also should not be a situation whether either of you is using the other solely as a way to boost your professional lives, for reasons such as desiring a larger salary or a loftier position. The relationship should be forged on common ground and progress naturally.

Should you meet someone in a professional setting with whom you feel a connection that you want to continue, ask them to be a mentor.  Be careful to approach the topic in a courteous but not presumptuous manner. It’s a request, not a demand, that’s being made.  Assert your reasons for wanting their mentorship, the qualities that you hope to achieve, and your own goals for the future. This makes it clear to the other person that they have been selected for a specific purpose, and that they’re not just being seen as a tool to help you get to the next level in your professional life.

For the person approached about mentoring, they should choose wisely. A prospective mentor needs to consider their own time and schedule to determine whether they’d be able to provide the leadership necessary to benfit you both. If they are unable to for legitimate reasons, most people will simply explain why.  In addition, some people, no matter how accomplished, don’t feel comfortable as a mentor. Saying no is an acceptable response and it is better they don’t risk the professional relationship imploding on account of agreeing to do something they weren’t entirely sure about.

Overall, a mentoring relationship can prove to be hugely beneficial to both parties. For the person being mentored, it’s an opportunity to grow and realize their potential. For the person mentoring, it’s an opportunity to realize how much they have to offer.